University of Southern Indiana

Doodling on the Mind

Doodling on the Mind

3/13/2017 | University Communications
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Originally published in illume magazine.

The next time you see coworkers doodling on a page during a meeting, don’t assume they’re not paying attention. Doodling improves memory and increases focus—crucial to any career—as well as increases attention to detail, improves the ability to grasp new concepts, inspires ideas and reduces stress, which can lead to stroke, high blood pressure and obesity.

Research shows that doodlers’ minds are more focused than non-doodlers’—whose minds tend to drift. “Doodling a picture of a cat or trying to figure out how you are going to structure a document are two tasks that require very different levels of cognitive energy,” says Dr. Amie McKibban, associate professor of psychology. “The more complex a cognitive task, the more energy we use, making it difficult to attend to other events around us. This is where doodlers have the advantage. Rather than using the finite amount of cognitive energy they have on daydreaming or planning, doodlers are able to conserve some of that brainpower. At the end of the day, humans are cognitive misers. We have to be. So doodlers, doodle away.”

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Photo Credit: Artwork by Laura Everest

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